A bunch of people got off a bus stop as we walked past, and they stared at her, whale-eyed, turned sideways, rigid.
I didn't pick a Doberman to scare people, mind you. And I also must emphasize that she was perfectly behaved. At heel, paying attention to me, and calm.
Clearly a menace
The first people terrified by my Doberman were a pair of teenage boys, one perhaps fifteen, the other thirteen. Ballpark, anyway. They were going the opposite way on the park road, and the taller one said, Will Smith style, "Oh, hell no! That's the devil's dog." Elka and I were already off to the side, and I had stopped to let them pass. Rather than keep going, they stopped and stared. What is it with humans and staring at the objects of our terror? Every other animal takes staring as a threat or a challenge. "That's the devil's dog!" Elka had given them a cursory assessment and was to my side, sniffing at the ground.
I couldn't resist. "Yeah, she can smell your fear." They looked at me, and looked at her, and I laughed. Maybe they relaxed a little? "What do you mean, the devil's dog?"
"In the movie the Omen? The new one? That's the dogs in the graveyard. The devil uses them."
"Oh." I must have looked mystified. The older boy made kind of a disappointed noise about how I hadn't seen the Omen. Today's youth is strange indeed. They're terrified of my dog, but will stop inches away to talk about her, and denigrate my movie watching. They also don't want to hear about breed purpose, and temperament, and training. They don't know about Breed Specific Legislation, or the Dobermans in Conklin NY or the boy that ADAPT in Texas pulled out of a kill shelter at the eleventh hour. They don't want to hear about Marines and Devil Dogs. So instead of trying that, I said "They're the Resident Evil dogs too. You might not have noticed, because she has skin. It was science in Resident Evil, though, not the devil."
They considered this. Elka looked at them. The younger one held out his hand and she went to sniff, and they both pet her. "I'm so scared right now," the older one said. "That's the devil's dog." Was that admiration I detected? Elka came back to my side and looked up at me.
"The devil's dog!"